Transforming Cybersecurity from the Most Expensive Self-Licking Ice Cream Cone

Aug 12, 2014
6 minutes

Passion and relevance are the norm in Silicon Valley, where many of us work for amazing companies and push ourselves to the point of exhaustion (and beyond) with an intention to disrupt the status quo. As the fastest-growing cybersecurity company in history, Palo Alto Networks built an Enterprise Security Platform that transforms the way we detect and prevent malicious attackers from evading our defenses. We jumped in the middle of the highly competitive IT security industry with the innovative passion, drive and vision to provide relevant capabilities. The adventure ended up rolling a number of technologies into one solution that continues to deliver a new breed of protection and revives the waning industry focus on prevention.

There is more to the story than products and long hours, however. If you’re going to truly add something to this industry, you need to build strong relationships and deliver results for customers. If you’re not creating relationships – not listening to customer feedback as we all try to negotiate the Internet of Things – you’re never going to get even better and you will lose relevance. You are only interesting to the status quo. Ever heard the phrase, “What got you here won’t get you there”? It’s hard to overstate that in Cybersecurity, and it’s a consistent refrain heard at industry conferences and certainly in sales engagements.

The Cybersecurity community continues to propagate the status quo in a way that limits innovation so CIOs and CISOs become relevant partners to P&L. This pattern stunts the evolving role of CIOs and CISOs. How can you expect to stay relevant if you continue to operate on fear, deal reactively with today’s headline-making breach, or remain only a passive participant in your company’s C-suite?

Status Quo Is Broken

So much of the best Cybersecurity technology exists in silos, which forces companies to hire consultant engineers to make everything work together. That’s one reason why Cybersecurity has a reputation, particularly among CFOs, as the most expensive “self-licking ice cream cone” – in their eyes, it exists to keep existing.

To me, the key to overcoming this is getting beyond just products and spec sheets and speeds and feeds and all of the super-technical conversations we’ve become accustomed to, and actually building personal relationships to talk about business opportunities, not just technology spend on legacy approaches that miss the mark. Personal relationships will allow the entire community to have meaningful discussion around how the Cybersecurity community prevents intrusions — that is, move beyond fear and raise the bar for prevention.

Let’s discuss three ways I see Palo Alto Networks growing personal relationships to move beyond the broken status quo.

Intelligence Sharing

If you go to industry conferences, you’ve no doubt heard the idea – over and over – that cooperation between public sector, industry and academia is crucial to staying current. It reminds me of a bunch of generals sitting around a table agreeing to work more closely together and then leaving the table only to tell their staff to slow-roll support since it was not their idea. We all talk about it, but do we really place any weight behind intelligence sharing? If we did, the work MITRE continues doing with STIX/TAXII would play much more of a role than it does today. At Palo Alto Networks we are going beyond nodding our heads that sharing intelligence is a good idea. We embrace intelligence sharing fully, because we know it is the right thing to do.

To build better personal relationships with customers, we embraced a passion and took a leading role in Cybersecurity intelligence sharing that raises the bar for prevention. Consider the Cyber Defense Consortium, in which we are a co-founder and which benefits from this joint effort in three ways:

  1. Better cross-industry, cross-vendor threat intelligence
  2. Better coordination of incident response
  3. Better prevention of cyber attacks using advanced malware

Our goal isn’t to make organizations pay a premium rate on specialized point-product hardware for access to intelligence gained through contractual relationships with customers. We want to capture actionable intelligence as fast as we can and share it to protect as many organizations as possible.

Delivering Integrated Capabilities

Obviously, I’m a fan of our leadership, but it is important for you to know why. Listen and watch our CEO, Mark McLaughlin and CTO & Founder, Nir Zuk. They are delivering on a vision. Both were adamant to ensure deliberate control over how we evolve the next-generation endpoint. We didn’t just purchase Cyvera and throw a new label on the product – we needed the technology to integrates seamlessly into our platform approach. The diligence will ensure our next-generation endpoint works out-of-the-box to complete a critical leg of our Enterprise Security Platform. What we’re doing is creating a foundation for CIOs and CISOs to build and execute a comprehensive strategy that goes beyond compliance and governance.

Now, this is extremely important from a scalability and architecture perspective. It allows an organization to adopt new technologies and applications without compromising security and protection. This is bold for me to say, but have your architects, engineers and analysts spend some time with our team. Let the platform speak for itself by showing how it holistically delivers capabilities out-of-the-box that no one else can touch. Grow with us beyond the limited point product status quo. Don’t miss the opportunity to build a relationship that transforms the relevance of Cybersecurity.

Logical Position of the Enterprise Security Platform

Our engineered technology works in active networks, active endpoint memory, mobile devices and virtual cloud devices in leading-edge ways. Just consider what we are doing with other products like VMware NSX and Splunk. They are both pushing the envelope with us in IT and Cybersecurity. Yet, we automated many of yesterday’s approaches to Cybersecurity so our platform integrates with them out-of-the-box. This ensures you gain efficiencies by adopting emerging technologies while gaining ground against attackers. Please take some time to have one of our team members show you the Splunk application interface or walk you through our automated integration with VMware NSX. Both are just a few examples of the real deal, and you need to spend time with us.

Our approach screams for a personal relationship. There are no doubts your experts will find some amazing ways to employ our Enterprise Security Platform to protect your organization, and we want to be there with you. Personally, it is powerful and liberating to work with a product that does what we say it will do. Come build a personal relationship with us, and we will live up to that relationship. You will see it in your people and the energy will become infectious!

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